Sam McNair

Small Business Spotlight: Vernon’s Fig Bistro keeps personal touch amid pandemic

Contributor Sam McNair kicks off small business series

Café’s and bistros are some of the best go-to places for when you want to feel safe or comfortable.

They are like a scaled-down version of Grandma’s house, where you can let the tension leave your body while sipping from a cup of warm coffee.

The Fig Bistro and Café is no different in that regard, aside from perhaps being a prime example of how this sort of business is run. Although a key ingredient required for a café is to have that homey appeal, it is also the owner that can make or break a business.

Enter David Scarlatescu, owner of the Fig Bistro and Café since 2017 at the age of 19.

Growing up in Vernon, Scarlatescu would often visit the Sprouted Fig. It was when he was 13, his mother said to him, “David, I don’t know how, but one day I want to own this place.”

Being close with her, he had one goal in sight and put all his efforts into achieving it through part-time and full-time jobs.

He always makes sure the Fig offers value to all its customers. The Fig cherishes its customers and seeks to nurture a personal relationship. Scarlatescu has made sure the ‘small business’ personal touch has been embraced to the fullest. During COVID-19, he has offered multiple pick-up options, such as curbside pickup, as well as no-contact delivery for those who may be immunocompromised.

“We’ve never had it in history where we are not only running into a recession but also a pandemic,” said Scarlatescu. “In the past, when we had a recession you would tweak and adapt… but when there’s something like this where (the government) put such heavy restrictions… nobody can really (afford to) not stay open then. No entrepreneur really likes to feel like things are out of their control. “

It is easy to look at the mainstream news and let all the doom n’ gloom overwhelm us, but we never realize that we need only look to our community to see something truly inspiring.

To have that physical evidence that says to us, “No, we aren’t going to let this pandemic break us,” is something that makes an unbelievable difference to moral. It is businesses in our community like the Fig that are the reason to keep our chins up for the future.

Sam McNair is a fan of adventure novels, as well as writing about the people and places that make Vernon a great place to live. He got his diploma in Writing and Publishing from Okanagan College in 2020. He’s excited to get out into the world and get inspiration from the people that inhabit it.

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